Today, we are lucky enough to have New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Milan on the blog! Thank you so much for making the time to be with us, Ms. Milan.
AN: How did become a published author?
Ms. Milan: Well… I wrote a book. When I was done, I knew it wasn’t good enough. So I set it aside while I thought about how to fix it, and wrote another book. When I finished that one, I’d learned so much that I knew the first book was irretrievable. The second book still wasn’t good enough, so I set that aside and wrote a third book.
That one felt more right in more ways than I had imagined. So I spent some time editing and polishing that book.
Then I went to a conference, pitched to agent Kristin Nelson. She asked to see a full. She called me about a week later with an offer of representation.
AN: What was that like when you got “the call”?
Ms. Milan: I actually didn’t believe it at first. She literally was the very first person I pitched. And also, I might add, my dream agent. I recall being very suspicious on the phone. I think I said, “But this didn’t take you very long!”
She laughed and said she could call back later if I preferred.
Kristin sent my book out just before the big crash in publishing in 2008. I didn’t have time to get nervous. We had two offers in a few days, and five houses bidding on the book at the end.
When she called to tell me about this, I had just gotten a new puppy. He’d never heard my ringtone before and he freaked out and peed everywhere. Needless to say, I did not sound as excited as I was.
AN: Can you tell us what a day for you is like, in terms of writing?
Ms. Milan: If things are going well, I start writing by seven on the morning. I’ll work for three hours and then go run errands, exercise, walk the dog. Then it’s back to work in the afternoon, until dinner. Then after dinner I’ll do some more work.
AN: I know that you’ve had books published with big publishers in the past, but have now moved to self-publishing. Can you tell us why you chose to go that route?
Ms. Milan: Two big reasons: I make more money this way, and I have much more control. The difference in the digital royalty rate for self published authors is huge–up to four times more than I’d get from a publisher, and eight or nine times more than I was getting from Harlequin at the time.
This adds up. It adds way up.
But I also think I’m making more than I would make with them because I’m doing a better job publishing myself then they did.
AN: What do you like the most about self-publishing? And what do you like the least?
Ms. Milan: I like everything about self-publishing. Honestly. I wouldn’t be happy only being a writer.
AN: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for my readers hoping to publish a book?
Ms. Milan: Learn to be very hard with yourself. If you think you wrote a perfect book, it really just means you lack the skills to see what’s wrong with your writing.
AN: If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were just starting out, before you had any success, what would you say?
Ms. Milan: Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be the best.
You can find Ms. Milan’s website here.
You can follow her on Twitter here.
You can follow her on Facebook here.